Thursday, September 15, 2011

A break in the action

After five and one-half months back in action, I felt keenly the need for a break, so on Monday at 7:30 a.m. I boarded an Amtrak train for Ann Arbor. After an hour or so in the cafe car, I came back to my seat to find I had a rather large neighbor who begrudged me elbow room. Luckily he detrained at the next stop with a sarcastic comment about a nice trip or nice day. The rest of the journey was uneventful—except for the long final leg which, due to signal problems, was taken at a steady 15 miles per hour, making the start of my vacation two hours late.

I didn’t have any specific plans so I spent the next few days:
At Conor O'Neill's
  • hanging out with friends
  • checking out stores like Ten Thousand Villages and the Peaceable Kingdom
  • dining at Conor O’Neill’s with a long-time email list friend I’d never met (I couldn’t bring myself to try Guinness straight, so I had what they called a “black velvet,” Guinness and cider) and at Zingerman’s Roadhouse (macaroni and goat cheese, with an heirloom tomato salad)
  • enjoying my room and balcony and the balcony off the dining room at the Ann Arbor Bed and Breakfast
  • checking my work BlackBerry until it suddenly stopped receiving email (when I returned, I figured out that removing and reinserting the battery fixes this problem, but too late—I assumed everything was under control!)

I didn’t take many photos, but here’s one of the kind of architecture I like and the kind I don’t like, right across the street from one another. Guess which is the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum and which the new police station.

I also took a bad photo of one of Ann Arbor’s fairy doors. This one is looking slightly neglected. Does the fairy world go as ours goes? Are they facing hard times, too?

Thursday’s midday train had been canceled due to track work, so my hostess provided me with an early breakfast, graciously drove me to the train station at 7:15 a.m., and sent me off with homemade banana bread. This was another uneventful trip, late but not as much so as the first.

It got my attention
While we were passing through Portage, Michigan, I spotted a red Smart Car hauling a giant green teacup emblazoned with “ChocolaTea.” The train was traveling much faster than the car, and my iPhone wasn’t fast enough to take a photo. But the folks at ChocolaTea were kind enough to send me photos of this phenomenon on request. Oh, to have a shop like ChocolaTea in my backyard! But the budget says just as well I don’t!

Now I need another vacation.

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